Two down, three to go! Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Andy Murray of Great Britain passed their respective third round tests on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris . These two tennis giants are battling for the coveted year-end number one spot.
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 03: Novak Djokovic of Serbia slips whilst playing a shot against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria during the Mens Singles third round match on day four of the BNP Paribas Masters at Palais Omnisports de Bercy on November 3, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Djokovic, who had an easy win in his second round match (they both had first round byes), today struggled against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. He was forced to take a medical timeout due to a slip. The Bulgarian won the first set but Djokovic came back to win the next two sets, taking the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Novak’s next opponent is 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic of Croatia. On paper, Novak has an overwhelming advantage over Cilic as he leads their head-to-head 14-0. However, Cilic is on a winning streak, coming off a Swiss Indoor win in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday.
Murray, who survived a nasty scare in his second round match presented by Fernando Verdasco of Spain, had a routine match today. He defeated Lucas Pouille of France. Murray won 6-3, 6-0.
Murray awaits the winner of Gilles Simon and Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic. Murray has a winning record against both of them. He is 9-6 in his head-to-head against Berdych, and 16-2 against Simon.
They will play their quarterfinal round matches on Friday. Djokovic has to reach the final in order to hold onto the top spot, and Murray needs to win the title to dethrone Djokovic. This will be Murray’s first time to claim the spot at the top of the ATP World rankings.
Watch Paris Masters Live on Tennis Channel all week